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How Do I Tell the Difference Between a Pimple and a Cold Sore?

A pimple is a symptom of acne and is a pus-filled sore caused by a clogged hair follicle. A cold sore is a symptom of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and is a group of fluid-filled blisters caused by an HSV outbreak. Pimples and cold sores are similar but have apparent differences that can help you to identify which one you are dealing with.

Pimples

Pimples are usually associated with the following conditions:

  • A single sore with a whitehead or blackhead.
  • A single sore that is painful to the touch.
  • A single sore that is anywhere on your face.

If you are experiencing these conditions around your lips or on other areas of your face, you are dealing with a pimple. Pimples typically go away on their own or with the use of an over the counter treatment.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are usually associated with the following conditions:

  • Tingling, itching, or burning.
  • A group of small fluid-filled blisters.
  • Repeated symptoms in the same area of your upper or lower lip.

If you are experiencing these conditions, you are dealing with cold sores. Outbreaks caused by HSV can be reduced with antiviral medication and symptoms of cold sores can be managed by over the counter treatments.

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